Rachel Pass and Katie Allen
Marc Lindsay and Katie Allen
Spring 2012–Summer 2012
Life’s private reflections, big and small, shape and define the characters in Eliot Treichel’s debut short story collection. Rural Wisconsin—the lonely, aching expanse of quiet isolation—doubles as a metaphor for the characters who yearn for a closeness in personal relationships that is just out of grasp. A rivalry between lumberjacks reaches a sticky end. A man’s substandard work on his house mirrors his halfhearted attempt to fix his marriage. A little girl’s valorous rescue of mice is lost on her unsentimental father. High school soccer teams, bear cubs, dog sledding—all are masterfully woven together in a landscape that becomes a character in itself. Treichel expertly captures the voice of the individual, allowing any individual, anywhere, who has felt the inescapable pangs of loneliness, to connect to his characters’ aching hearts and quiet plights.
As with every book here at Ooligan Press, there comes a time for each to start flying on its own. That time has come for Close is Fine. We’ve worked so hard on this book and are extremely proud of Eliot; creating relationships with so many wonderful people and watching our efforts be turned into something truly beautiful has been such a rewarding process, and everything I’ve learned and experienced through being a project manager has reaffirmed for me exactly why I’m in this industry. It’s a realization that hit home when I watched Eliot read “Good Potato Soil” at the Doug Fir last week—people work so hard to get their work out into the world, to have their words read by others, and what Eliot had to say was something that everyone should have a chance to experience.
Working on the book trailer over the summer also helped me to overcome my fear of taking on something bigger than myself. Once I dove in, it turned out to be an incredibly enjoyable experience, and it felt good to work alongside people who weren’t in the press with me, because even though they’d just read the book, they felt passionately enough and believed in it enough to put their whole being into that trailer. We came together to create something that will benefit Close Is Fine, and hopefully this tradition will continue after I’ve graduated and more words are brought to the screen.
Irene Costello, Rachel Haag, Mark Lindsay, Rachel Pass, and I have all had the opportunity to work on this book as project managers, and being able to look at the final product makes me so proud of them, everyone at the press, and most of all, Eliot. There’s no greater feeling than holding that matte-finished book in your hands and thinking, “We did it.” So many people came out for the launch and bought books, which I’m confident will continue in the months and years to come, both online and in stores.
To finish up this last post, I just want to say that even though this project is coming to an end for me, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of our love for Eliot or his book. Eliot contributed a guest blog on our site, and I’m very much looking forward to reading whatever he comes out with next. When I graduate in March, I hope that future project managers get a chance to work with a book as wonderful as Close Is Fine. Thank you for such a wonderful term and for all of your support and love, and a very Happy Holidays to all our readers. As always…
Thanks for reading,
If you didn’t make it to Monday’s launch of Close is Fine at the Doug Fir, you missed out. The fake deer on the book’s cover expertly mimicked the real-deal taxidermy and deer paintings lining the Doug Fir’s walls, while the one-hundred-percent authentic fire kept us all toasty. After an hour or so of mingling with local readers, stoppers-by, and Ooligan staff, Eliot treated everyone to a reading of a selection from Close Is Fine, “Good Potato Soil.”
This may just be my favorite story in the collection, so it was exciting to hear Eliot read it aloud. Judging from the silence of the crowd—broken only by laughter and the catching of breath in all the right places—I think everyone else enjoyed it just as much as I did.
If you didn’t get a chance to come, you can still pick up your copy of Close is Fine at a local bookstore, or order it online.
In other exciting news, Eliot wrote a wonderful guest blog for Ooligan this week. It gives a peek into the way he conjured this collection of short stories into being, all while working at the Eugene public library. Please check it out here!
Thanks for reading,
Our launch is this Monday! I am so excited to finally let this baby bird fly, and at the Doug Fir of all places? If you’ve never been, let me tell you, it’s easily one of the coolest venues in Portland. I’ve seen a lot of acoustic shows there and it’s always a good time. Their staff is wonderful and their drinks are even better. Honestly, Close is Fine and the Doug Fir are a great pairing and Emily (head of Marketing) did a spectacular job planning this all out. We’ve got a pretty basic schedule for the night:
Eliot has worked so hard on this project and we can’t wait to celebrate it with him! After that we’ll be hanging out and having drinks until 8:00pm, and you all should stay and enjoy the company. I know Emily has some great door prizes she’s going to be handing out at the launch, and some of them involve cheese—who doesn’t love cheese? The director, Jared Richard, and actors Mike Beymer and Nick Steffl from the book trailer will also be attending the launch to answer questions. If we can pull it off, we’re going to try and show the trailer there with a projector.
Monday, October 29th, 5:00pm, The Doug Fir Lounge. Close is Fine book launch—be there or be square!
Thanks for reading,
Wordstock was an exciting weekend for those of us on the Close is Fine crew. People stopping by the Ooligan table picked up bookmarks with the free download link for Eliot’s story, “Novitiate Falls.” Out-of-town readers who hadn’t ever heard of Ooligan or Close is Fine before bought the collection and took it home. It was wonderful to see the joy of discovery on their faces, and I know they’ll be even more excited as they crack open the book and start to read.
We’re hoping to help even more people experience that joy during the coming months as we work with Eliot to help schedule readings at bookstores, libraries, and colleges across the area. The first of these events will be the Portland area book launch at the Doug Fir on the evening of October 29. If you’re in Portland—or close enough to stop by for the evening—please join us as we officially welcome Eliot and Close is Fine to the Portland publishing world. I can’t wait!
Thanks for reading,
This weekend hosts one of the most fun, educational, and valuable events in the literary community—Wordstock! Not only can you find discounted or free books, but you can also get the word out about your press or upcoming book release. This year Ooligan will have their regular booth and we’ll be showing off, you heard it right, Close is Fine! We’ll be able to answer any questions you have about the book, Eliot Treichel (the author), the publishing process, and other random things you happen to think of.
When we printed our final copies of Close is Fine, we included an exclusive interview with Eliot in the back of the book, and it’s something you won’t want to miss out on. He gives us insight into his inspiration for the stories and what it’s like to write this kind of short story collection. Close is Fine will be for sale at the booth along with all of our other titles, including Ruth Tenzer Feldman’s Blue Thread.
As usual, our booth will serve as an educational resource for those who are curious, informational for potential authors, and just like every other year, our acquisitions department will be taking submissions of work from writers who wish to have their manuscripts reviewed. If you can’t make it this weekend, we always have our mailing list with updates available from Ooligan, and you can sign up for those here!
Read all about Wordstock and all of the great presenters, booths, and events at the Wordstock website, and we’ll see you this weekend!
Thanks for reading,
Last week, Katie discussed eye-catching collateral. We were all really pumped up about the idea of printing Close is Fine totes and seeing the beautiful artwork for the book floating around town slung across people’s shoulders as they shopped for groceries or carried stacks of books back home on the bus.
This week, unfortunately, we started to talk numbers. We are a small press, and we’re putting out more new books than ever before—at least one per term—while considering additional print runs for some of our best sellers. This is big news for the press, but it also translates into big dollars. In short, we realized we don’t have funding right now to print the tote bags.
This is a bummer. But, on the positive side, we have an amazing new Close is Fine design created by Krys Roth. It would have looked great on the totes, but will also look incredible on our electronic launch invitations and announcement posters. In this business, we have to learn to be flexible.
No matter how much small presses have to bend, there is one constant in Portland’s publishing scene, and that is Wordstock. We’ll be at the festival with copies of Close is Fine and other excellent Ooligan titles in tow, along with some pretty snazzy bookmarks. Please come visit our booth and say hi!
Thanks for reading,
That my friend is a good question. We hear swag all the time and naturally my first reaction is to think of Michael Scott’s quote from The Office, “SWAG! Stuff we all get.” He couldn’t be any more correct, but it’s the getting of the right swag that’s important and sometimes difficult to nail down.
One might think, “Oh! Books! Let’s just print a million bookmarks and be done with it!” but with Close Is Fine we needed to think outside the box. We really wanted to come up with something unique, reusable, and big enough to show off the book. Eventually totes came to mind, and I can’t think of a better item.
We haven’t exactly decided on colors yet, but we know people will like it because it has multiple uses and won’t get lost on page 241 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. With the world hyper-aware of green-thinking and recycling, we wanted to reflect our sentiments. Totes can be used for purchases of books at Powell’s (we all know those get heavy), trips to the beach to with your current read, carrying groceries, and all kind of other fun stuff! All while looking cool at the same time.
Anyway, when it comes down to swag, I think you really need to get your marketing department to put their heads together so that you can come up with something green-friendly, reusable, applicable to your book, and fun! Always have fun with it. I know we did.
As Katie mentioned in an earlier post, students at Ooligan change roles in the press every two terms so that we get a broad exposure to the way things work in the world of publishing. So, with this new term beginning, there are a few changes going on surrounding Close is Fine. Co-Project Manager Marc Lindsay will moving on to other things as he finishes his portfolio and graduates in December, so I’m stepping in to help out. I’m sad to see Marc go, but I’m really excited to be part of the project! It was the first Ooligan title I read when I came into the program last year and it’s been wonderful to see it take shape.
Speaking of which, the first shipment of books made it to the office! They’ve got a nice matte finish, and we think they look great. Eliot got a chance to come by and pick them up last week, and we were happy to note that he was as excited about them as we are. Eliot should have a nice stack of these available at his next stop on the Crazy 8′s tour, which will be on October 23 in Hood River.
Our final first for this first day of fall is the release of Eliot’s short story, “Novitiate Falls,” in electronic format! Our digital department has worked hard to make this happen and it’s available for a free download on the Close is Fine site right now. Go check it out and enjoy!
Thanks for reading,
On this beautiful, almost-the-last-day of summer, we finished the last few shots for our book trailer. Shot by Jared Richard and starring Nick Steffl and Mike Beymer, we achieved perfect chemistry between characters and great shots of throwing things off the roof. I worked mostly behind the scenes (handing things back to them on the roof, prepping sets, getting props, and fetching water) and it was really great to see Jared in action.
He read Good Potato Soil and identified with the characters, so for him it was a passion project. Watching a director really get into the scenes was inspiring and he wasn’t afraid to get down with Nick and Mike on the roof and show them what was playing in his head. Each scene was filmed at least four times to get the perfect shot, and you could tell that even when the shot was “good enough,” Jared wanted more and he got it.
Nick and Mike didn’t relate as closely as Jared and I did with the characters, but they listened to our interpretations and thoughts on the project and really used that to their advantage. They put 100% of themselves into each of their characters and made sure they were doing it right. Mike got into it so much that he put together the last scene all on his own and visualized the shot for Jared to film.
All in all, this project has been a fantastic, eye-opening experience for myself and for Jared, Mike, and Nick. I think we all learned something about ourselves and had fun doing it. The footage is currently with Jared being edited, and it will be right in front of you on this screen before you know it! Look for it soon and thanks for reading :]
Every term at Ooligan Press, we change out one of the Project Mangers (PMs) on each project in order to give everyone a chance to experience what it’s like to manage a book. It’s a really great opportunity for students to get their hands dirty (hopefully figuratively) and to better understand what goes into making sure each book is successful. From overseeing creation of the book cover to organizing a book tour, each step of each book is in their hands, just like it would be in a real press. This is why Ooligan is so unique. We’re getting an internship while we’re in school. Genius? You bet.
As of right now, I’m in my first term of management and learning the ropes. I feel pretty good about it and by the time Marc gets done in September I’ll have a new manager to help me out! I think learning through doing is one of the best ways to learn, and I can honestly say that I’ll be prepared when I graduate in March.
Portland State University has a great program with Ooligan, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves books, publishing, writing, or design. Look for Close is Fine in November and our bonus supplemental story Novitiate Falls!
Over the past week we’ve been working hard at finishing up filming. Some of the shots we wanted had played out much differently in our heads than on camera. Apparently you can’t translate thoughts perfectly on film. Bummer. Either way we’ve been having a lot of fun throwing things off the roof and bringing Eliot’s eccentric characters to life. Once filming wraps up, we’ll start editing and piecing it together. Now that’s the hard part…
Book trailers are becoming more and more popular in the literary world, and with a story as vivid and real as “Good Potato Soil,” why wouldn’t they be? It’s one of those stories that plays in your head as you read it and when we decided to start filming, we didn’t have any problems creating the script at all. There was a lack of dialogue, but it came along with wonderfully descriptive and emotional writing.
As we went through our options for location, we wanted to make sure we stayed as true to the manuscript as possible. We needed a barn and high place to throw things off of, so we chose my parents house out in Perrydale, Oregon. With aged wood siding and a good sturdy roof, there was no better option. A friend of mine, Jared Richard, has done one feature length film, several short films, and a television show, so I asked him to help us create Close is Fine‘s trailer. In addition to helping me write the script, Jared is also directing the trailer. With a creative eye and passion for the text, he’s really been able to help us bring these words off the page and onto film.
Eliot’s created something that everyone can relate to, and that’s the reason we’ve all been working on the trailer. Close is Fine speaks to everyone and we’re hoping that this trailer will bring people to the same realization that we at Ooligan have come to—that all of us have experienced loneliness at some point, in all of its painful silence, and even though we may struggle against it, we’re all struggling together, and that is what unites us.